Fix: “File too large for destination file system” on Windows 10

Milan Stanojevic avatar. By: Milan Stanojevic
4 minute read

Home » Windows » Fix: “File too large for destination file system” on Windows 10

Storage space is usually not a problem on Windows 10, but sometimes storing a large file can be a problem depending on your storage device. Users reported File too large for destination file system message, and today we’re going to show you how to fix this problem.

“File too large for destination file system” on Windows 10, how to fix it?

If you’re getting this message, it means that you’re trying to transfer a file that is larger than 4GB to your USB flash drive or any other storage device. This isn’t a Windows error, this is just a limitation of the FAT32 file system. In the past, FAT32 was the most used file system, but this file system could only support single files that are less than 4GB.

This limitation became a problem, therefore a new file system called NTFS was invented. NTFS file system almost completely replaced FAT32 file system, but even today certain devices such as smartphones or consoles rely on FAT32. Regarding computers, if you’re trying to transfer a file that is larger than 4GB to a FAT32 USB flash drive or a hard drive partition, you’ll get File too large for destination file system message. Fortunately, there are few ways to fix this problem.

Fix – “File too large for destination file system” Windows 10 USB, FAT32

Solution 1 – Split your files

This might not be the best solution, but it will allow you to store your file on a FAT32 file system device. One way to circumvent this 4GB file limitation is to split your file. To split large files, you can use tools such as GSplit or HJSplit. This method is useful if you want to store a large file on a USB flash drive and transfer it to a different PC. You won’t be able to join files on your flash drive, but you should be able to join them on a different PC without any problems.

Solution 2 – Format your drive

Formatting your drive allows you to change the file system from FAT32 to NTFS or exFAT. Both exFAT and NTFS allow you to store files larger than 4GB, so you should always use NTFS for hard drive partitions and NTFS or exFAT for USB flash drivers. To format your drive, follow these steps:

  1. Go to My Computer, locate your drive, right click it and choose Format from the menu.
    file-too-large-destination-file-system-format-1
  2. When Format window opens, select NTFS as the File system or exFAT and click Start.
    file-too-large-destination-file-system-format-2
  3. Wait for the format process to complete.

Keep in mind that formatting your drive will delete all files from it, so be sure to back them up before starting the format process.

If you want to keep all your files on the storage device, you can also change the file system without formatting. This method is a bit advanced and in most cases it should preserve all your files, but just to be sure create a backup of your files before using this method. To change file system without deleting your files, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + X to open Win + X menu. Select Command Prompt (Admin).
    file-too-large-destination-file-system-cmd-1
  2. Optional: When Command Prompt opens, enter chkdsk F: /f. We used F: in our example because that’s the letter assigned to our USB flash drive, but you need to use the letter that matches your USB flash drive. After the scan is completed and no errors are found, move on to the next step.
  3. Enter convert F: /FS:ntfs and press Enter to run it. Once again, be sure to use the correct drive letter. We used F: in our example, but you need to use the letter that matches your storage device. Be sure to double check this letter before proceeding.
  4. After the conversion process is completed, check if the storage device is converted and if all your files are still present. If everything is in order, try to transfer the large file again.

File too large for destination file system message can be a problem, but you can easily circumvent this issue by splitting the large file. If you want to permanently fix this problem, you’ll have to format your storage drive and use exFAT or NTFS file system.

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